Episode 20 – The People’s Choice
The TBR pile continues to shrink – 95! Woo-hoo! But it’s had the unfortunate side-effect that I’m no longer capable of deciding amongst the tempting treats the blogosphere continues to offer. So, for a change, I’m turning the choice – and the responsibility – over to you. Are you up to the challenge? Here’s my shortlist – which one do you think deserves a coveted slot on my TBR? The winner will be announced next Thursday…
With my usual grateful thanks to all the reviewers who’ve intrigued and inspired me over the last few weeks, here are:
The Blurb – When Olivia Brookes calls the police to report that her husband and children are missing, she believes she will never see them again. She has reason to fear the worst; this isn’t the first tragedy that Olivia has experienced. Now, two years later, Detective Chief Inspector Tom Douglas is called in to investigate this family again, but this time it’s Olivia who has disappeared. All the evidence suggests that she was here, in the family home, that morning. But her car is in the garage, and her purse is in her handbag – on the kitchen table.
The police want to issue a national appeal, but for some reason every single picture of this family has been removed from albums, from phones, from computers.
And then they find the blood…
Cleo says: “This book contains everything that a good psychological thriller should; there is a great puzzle to be solved, an uncertainty about which characters can be believed as Olivia and Robert explain some of their actions the result being that some of what I read literally gave me goose bumps as I couldn’t help but imagine myself in Olivia’s shoes. Be warned some of the scenes in this book will make your heart race!“
The Blurb – Inspector Singh’s expertise is required in China in his sixth adventure, as he battles political intrigue to get to the bottom of a very murky and complex crime Inspector Singh is on a mission to China, against his better judgment. The son of a bigwig at the Singapore Embassy has been bludgeoned to death in a back alley in Beijing. The Chinese security insist that he was the victim of a robbery gone wrong, but the young man’s mother demands that Singapore’s finest (in his own opinion) rides to the rescue. But solving a murder in a country that practices socialism “with Chinese characteristics” is a dangerous business, and it soon becomes apparent that getting to the bottom of this calamitous killing will be his toughest case yet.…
Margot says “In Beijing, Inspector Singh is an obvious foreigner. Through his eyes we get a look at the blend of ancient tradition, modern Chinese-style capitalism and some Maoist traditions too that contribute to Chinese culture. There’s also a hefty dose of pragmatism too, as ‘regular’ Chinese people manage their lives. And since Singh is not Chinese, and doesn’t speak that language, he’s a bit out of his element. And that adds a layer of tension to the story.“
The Blurb – Ethan Frome works his unproductive farm and struggles to maintain a bearable existence with his difficult, suspicious, and hypochondriac wife, Zeenie. But when Zeenie’s vivacious cousin enters their household as a “hired girl”, Ethan finds himself obsessed with her and with the possibilities for happiness she comes to represent. In one of American fiction’s finest and most intense narratives, Edith Wharton moves this ill-starred trio toward their tragic destinies. Different in both tone and theme from Wharton’s other works, Ethan Frome has become perhaps her most enduring and most widely read novel.
Margaret says: “even though Ethan Frome is a tragedy there is light to contrast the darkness, and there is love and hope set against repression and misery. It’s another book (like The Grass is Singing) where I hoped the ending would be a happy one, although I knew it couldn’t be. It’s a short book (just over 120 pages) and deceptively simple to read, but there is so much packed into it. I enjoyed it very much.”
The Blurb – The setting is a small, idyllic village at the foot of Norway’s Kollen Mountain, where neighbors know neighbors and children play happily in the streets. But when the body of a teenage girl is found by the lake at the mountaintop, the town’s tranquility is shattered forever. Annie was strong, intelligent, and loved by everyone. What went so terribly wrong? Doggedly, yet subtly, Inspector Sejer uncovers layer upon layer of distrust and lies beneath the town’s seemingly perfect facade.
Rebecca says: “Despite the sadness of the story, Sejer himself doesn’t seem overly gloomy, which is appealing in a protagonist. He feels empathy for the people he interviews not only because they were touched by the crimes at the center of the novel but because of their lives together in their small town. I’m glad I have several more novels in the series to get to soon.”
The Blurb – In the epigraph to this volume, Penelope Fitzgerald tells us: If a story begins with finding, it must end with searching,” and so we discover each story here to follow the arc of a search, just as each also contains a rescue. What is immediately apparent is that it will be impossible to guess the form this rescue will take or even who it is who’ll require it. Instead, the astonishingly talented Valerie Trueblood has imbued each story with its own depth and mystery, so rescue comes as a surprise to the reader, who is in intimate sympathy for the soul in extremity.
Kelly says: ““The Magic Pebble” and “The Stabbed Boy” just about broke my heart with their bits of tragedy; “The Blue Grotto,” a tale of a babysitter whose overnight charge has a 105-degree fever and requires a trip to the ER, terrified me; “Later or Never” (about a caretaker) and “Street of Dreams” (about a father shepherding his homeless family) were poignant vignettes; and the opening of “Who Is He That Will Harm You” reveals its events, little by little, until the full scene pops startlingly into your mind’s eye.“
NB All blurbs are taken from Goodreads.
So…which should I read? Choose just one or as many as you like – the book with most votes will be this week’s winner…
Hope you pick a good one! 😉